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#8 UVA tops Virginia Tech in series opener, 8-3

virginia virginia techThe No. 8 UVA baseball team rolled to an 8-3 win over Virginia Tech Thursday evening at Davenport Field as part of the Commonwealth Clash presented by Virginia529. Virginia (34-18, 17-11 ACC) won for the ninth time in its last 10 games as starting pitcher Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) improved to 11-1 on the year. Virginia Tech dropped to 19-34, including a 6-22 mark in conference play.

“They did a nice job with Connor Jones and we did a nice job of hanging in there,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We did a lot of good things offensively. I was proud of our guys for staying on balance. Matt Thaiss’s two-run home run (in the sixth inning) certainly was a big one, and we did a nice job of opening things up.”

Jones labored through five innings and gave up three runs (two earned), five hits and five walks while striking out three. He earned his 22nd career win, tying Sean Doolittle (2005-07) for fourth in program history. Kevin Doherty (Sr., Laytonsville, Md.) allowed just one hit and retired 13 of the 14 batters he faced over four scoreless innings to earn his second save.

“Connor Jones is human,” O’Connor said. “A lot has been made about his complete games and how dominant he has been and the speculation about him possibly being the ACC Pitcher of the Year. We learned tonight that he is not perfect and this is a tough game. But I’m as proud of him tonight as I have been with any of his complete games because he clearly did not have his command and his best stuff, but he grinded and gave us five innings and left the game with the lead. That was impressive to me.”

Virginia Tech starter Kit Scheetz (5-6) took the loss after allowing seven runs (six earned), 12 hits and a walk while fanning a pair.

Virginia racked up 14 hits, with Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.) matching a career high by going 4-for-5. Matt Thaiss (Jr., Rochester, N.Y.) homered and drove in four runs as part of a 3-for-4 night, while Cameron Simmons (Fr., Royersford, Pa.) also homered and had three hits.

Virginia jumped to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning, getting three straight singles to begin the frame before Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.) lifted a sacrifice fly to center. The Hokies came back in the second inning to tie the game on an Andrew Mogg sac fly.

UVA scored three runs in its half of the second. With one out, Clement lined a single to left to plate Charlie Cody (So., Chesapeake, Va.). Thaiss followed with a single to right, scoring Simmons and Clement for a 4-1 lead.

Virginia Tech chipped away at the lead with single runs in the third and fourth innings, although the damage could have been worse. Tom Stoffel hit an RBI single in the third. Phil Sciretta followed with a single to load the bases with none out, but Jones battled back and ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. Saige Jenco hit an RBI double in the fourth to whittle the lead down to 4-3.

UVA opened the game up by using the long ball in a three-run sixth inning. Simmons led off with a line drive home run over the left-field bleachers for his fourth homer of the year. Three batters later, Thaiss launched a long home run over the right-field bleachers to score Justin Novak (So., Tokyo, Japan). The two-run blast was Thaiss’s ninth home run of the year.

The Cavaliers tacked on a run in the seventh on a two-out RBI single from Simmons.

The Friday Virginia-Virginia Tech baseball game at Davenport Field has been moved to a 1 p.m. start time because of a forecast for inclement weather on Friday evening. The game originally was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Free parking will be available in the University Hall, John Paul Jones Arena and McCue Center lots, while parking is $5 in the Emmet-Ivy Garage. Fans are encouraged to arrive early because of heavy traffic on Grounds from graduation exercises throughout the weekend.

There will be a video webcast of the game on VirginiaSports.com. Because of the time change, there will be no radio broadcast.

The Commonwealth Clash presented by Virginia529 is a head-to-head, points-based competition between the athletic teams at University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. The Commonwealth Clash encourages a friendly, statewide rivalry between the two schools across all school-sponsored sports with 21 individual event points on the line. The school that accumulates 11 points or more will be crowned the winner and take home the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash trophy. Visit www.TheCommonwealthClash.com for more information. Virginia leads the 2015-16 competition, 13-7.



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